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70 Days to maturity. Cucumis melo var conomom. Katsura Giant Pickling Melon Seeds. Non-GMO warm-season annual heirloom. This pickling melon is a large, light green, oval-shaped melon that is prized in Japan for pickling. It's easy to grow, though it does need some room! The vines are long, usually 10 feet or so. The melons themselves are up to 14 inches long and 5 inches wide. The flesh is white with a distinct sweet and sour taste. It's a native tropical plant and is best grown in warm or even very hot weather. Approx 1,800 seeds / oz.
Other Common Names:tsit kwa, uet kwa, bai gua, cai gua, yue gue, oshiro uri
How to Grow Katsura Giant Melon
As a long vining plant, it’s best to start these seeds in small hills to aid in propper water drainage. The hills should be about 1 foot wide, and 4 inches tall. Start 3 seeds in each hill, about 4 feet apart. If you are growing multiple rows, space the rows at least 6 feet apart. The hills should be watered frequently. Sprouting occurs in 4 to 10 days. The vines will grow very long and need space to spread. Either use a trellis or have the vines grow away from the garden. The melons will be large and need support. Use some hammock-like supports (old towels work well for this) to tie them to the trellis, or put something under them as they grow if on the ground.
Harvesting Katsura Giant Melon
For harvesting, the flesh should be firm, and the rinds somewhat hard. The melons get lighter as they ripen. Harvest before the fruits get too light in color. They will easily twist off the stem.
Seeds can also be harvested. Scoop out the pulp and put it in a jar with water. Stir once a day for about a week. The best seeds will sink to the bottom. Pour out the water, pulp, and floating seeds. Wash the good seeds and let them dry for another 7 days. Then store them for planting.
Katsura Giant Melon is best when pickled, but can also be eaten raw and steamed. Add as a side dish or slice and stir-fry with any meat or vegetable dish. It is popular to use the pickled melon stir-fry with fish or vegetables, or beans or tempeh!
Stories From Our Gardeners
"For vining melons, the main thing I try to do is to ensure that the melons are supported. I will sometimes use a trellis, but more often than not, I will let them grow out along the ground. I have the luxury to do this because I have a big yard. If you do need to save space, a trellis works great! Ensure the vines climb where they should and that the melons are supported to keep them attached to the vine. When I do let them grow out, the melons still need support to keep them off the soil. I like to use melon cradles, which can be fixed in place or moved if needed. These support the melon and keep good airflow going around it. I have also just used a piece of cardboard under each melon. Make sure you keep some spares since these need to be replaced a few times during the growing season."
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